Okay, I've not finished writing the decreasing portion of this lesson (because of the family stuff I've got going on), but i'll give you the increasing to chew on until I finish the last part. (Sorry!)
Lesson Five Ė Increasing and Decreasing:
(Okay, so Iím going slightly off the syllabus Ė I think you folks can handle me compressing a few lessons.)
The important thing to remember is that when adding or removing stitches, pay attention to if you need to k or p! And like casting off, you should inc and dec in pattern wherever possible. Note Ė increasing is sometimes referred to as Ďmake oneí in some patterns.
Most of the time you would not increase in the first and last stitch when working on a flat piece, as it will cause distortions on the edges. Sometimes, however, you might want to increase in the first and last stitch if you are trying to get some special effect.
Like the name suggests, this is when you need to add a stitch to your work; commonly for doing sleeves. There are many ways to increase, so Iíll cover some of the more common.
Bar knit increase:
(Named for the fact that it creates a little Ďbarí in your work)
Bar purl increase:
- Knit the stitch you want to place your increase in, but DO NOT remove it from your needle.
- Insert the right needle into the back half of that loop (thatís the part behind the needle).
- Knit a stitch in that back loop and then slide the old loop off the needle. You should now have one extra stitch.
(This is often more awkward to do than knit increases)
The reason you have to do step number 2 is to get the yarn in the proper position to purl. If you donít your increase will unravel before you finish it. Try it if you donít believe me!
- Purl the stitch you want to place your increase in, but DO NOT remove it from your needle.
- Take the yarn and bring it behind the right needle, and then between the needle points in a counterclockwise/anticlockwise motion.
- Insert your right needle into the front half of the loop on the left needle and using the yarn you just pulled around, purl another stitch.
- You can now remove the old loop from the needle.
YO (yarn over) Increase:
- Pick up a stitch with your right needle from the row BELOW your current one; kwise if you are knitting and pwise if your are purling.
- Knit or purl that stitch as appropriate
- Be sure to knit or purl into the stitch below, not into the horizontal bar between the two stitches.
- Do not use this increase more than every three or four rows; otherwise your work wonít lie flat. (Which really is a pain).
This increase forms a little hole or eyelet, which is suited for lacy patterns. Itís usually paired with a decrease if the garment isnít actually increasing in size. (i.e. k2tog, yo, k1)
- Take the yarn and bring it around your needle counterclockwise in a loop.
- It should end up in the same place you started, only now, you have an extra loop on your needle.
- Purl or knit the next stitch as needed.
- On the next row, when you get to this stitch it can be really easy to accidentally drop it, so pay close attention.
This picks up the horizontal strand between two stitches and working it as if it were a stitch. There are two results: If you work in the front, a hole is left beneath, like the previous YO increase. If you work into the back of the strand, the stitch is twisted and the increase is barely visible.
- Insert left needle front to back under the horizontal bar that lies between the two stitches.
- On a knit row for an eyelet increase knit in to the front of the stitch.
- On a knit row for an invisible stitch knit into the back of the stitch.
- On a purl row for an eyelet increase purl in to the front of the stitch.
- On a purl row for an invisible stitch purl into the back of the stitch.
Increasing or Decreasing Evenly:
After completing the ribbing of a sweater, many patterns ask you to increase evenly a certain number of stitches for certain sections. This is most commonly done with sleeves, but sometimes with body segments too as the ribbing is supposed to be tight, but the rest loose.
But what does it mean to increase evenly? Is it important?
You betcha it is.
If you were to increase all the stitches at the beginning of the row, for example, the sweater wouldn't grow symmetrically. The side without the increases would remain close to the body and wouldn't blouse out; the side with the increases would expand away from the body disproportionately.
Hereís a current example Ė Iím right now knitting sleeves with a cable and rib pattern. (Co 50 sts and k1p1 rib for 4 rows. On the 4th (last) row, increase 5 sts evenly. )So youíd think, hey this means I increase one stitch every 10, and youíd be right (sort of). The first increase would occur on the 5th stitch while the 5th, or last, increase would occur on the 50th stitch. In other words, at the beginning of the row you will have 10 stitches before an increase occurs and at the end of the row there will be no stitches after the last increase. So this is not true even increasing.
The best thing to do in a case like that is to take the number of stitches you have that will be increased/decreased, and add one to the total. If you need to inc 5 sts evenly, Iíd use the number 6 in my calculations. So I would divide 6 into 50, which is 8.33. Now itís not possible to knit 1/3 of a stitch, so I round the number, to the closest integer, which is 8. Now assuming Iím knitting, I would k8, *inc 1, k8* (rep * to * 4 times) which gives me 53 stitches. Since my final total should be 55, I need to fudge a little and k2 at the end of that row. But even though I had two remaining sts on that row, the increases were evenly spread over the row and therefore very hard to pick out.
Example: X is a k, O is a inc
The same technique works for decreasing evenly as well. To dec 5sts from 50 to 45, Iíd take 50, divide again by 6 (5 +1) and get 8 sts. Iíd knit 8 sts, dec1, k8, dec1 . . . until the end.
Example: X is a k, O is a dec
To recap: When a pattern tells you to increase or decrease a certain number of stitches on the next row ďevenly spacedĒ, do the following: divide the number of stitches on your needle by the number to be increased +1. Round the fraction to the nearest whole number. Knit/purl that number of stitches, inc/dec one and repeat until the end, where any remaining stitches are knitted or purled as appropriate to the pattern.
I'll have the decreasing portion of this lesson to follow shortly . . .